The main aim for this week’s work at the plot was to clear away the old and very overgrown compost bins and general dumping ground that forms the boundary line with Network Rail behind the shed. I had tried to clear this area in the past and found it was so infested with nettles and bracken that the weeds were too tough and inter woven.
It was time for the heavy artillery.
Quick trip to Screwfix and I have a 5Kg mattock/pick axe.
Saturday 11 Jun – Armed with the heavy artillery, this was going to be a full day at the allotment. Today’s plan was to clear all of the framework (timber, chicken wire and plastic sheeting) of the compost bins and break down the soil so it could easily be shovelled out.
The mattock made very quick work of the weed and root infested heaps of soil and compost. Slowly I started working from the right hand side towards the shed where I knew most of the chicken wire and plastic remained. One of the issues I discovered was that the wire and plastic also formed the base of the compost bins as well as the sides!
Eventually I reached the area adjacent to the shed and wondered why the mattock would have no impact on this. Furtling around on my hands and knees soon uncovered the mattock proof culprit – more bl**dy carpet!. With this removed it did not take long to reach and clear the shed.
One of the problems with this compost area, it that it had fallen against the shed and started to rot the timbers. With the soil removed I am now able to assess the damage and instigate repairs.
The final job of the day was to remove an old reinforced concrete fence post that I had discovered when clearing the earth from the corner of the plot. This was one of the worse weeded areas with very deep nettle, bracken and bind weed roots. However, they were no competition for the mattock and in no time I had the fence post clear and todays work complete.
Sunday 12 Jun – todays job was to starting clearing the loose soil away. The first of the compost/soil was to be used to fill the old cast iron bath bed. However, due to the amount of plastic and weed roots in the soil, it all had to be sieved into the wheelbarrow.
This was slow laborious job, as well as back breaking at times. But eventually 6 wheelbarrows of sieved soil had been transferred to the bath and surprisingly this only cleared a very small amount of the soil that had to be shifted. The rest would have to wait until next week, once I had worked out where to put it!
Even clearing and sieving this small amount of soil uncovered even more chicken wire and plastic plus the odd empty seed packet from 5 years ago – so much for biodegradable! However, the find of the weekend was a rusty old spade minus the wooden handle.
Overall, this was a good weekends work. The old compost bins have been removed and all of the soil loosened up. Some of it has been removed and the bath been filled ready for manure and planting out with lettuce. The remainder will be cleared next week and used to fill in the holes created by the removal of the blackberry and raspberry bushes.
Once this area is cleared completely and levelled, I will be in a position to start the assembly of the polytunnel. In the meantime, here is a quick potted tour of the site as it stood on the 12 Jun.